Nucleus Research conducted a study on small and mid-size organizations (companies fewer than 500 people) that had adopted an enterprise content management system and found that for every dollar invested in ECM, the organizations experienced $8.55 in real-world benefits. That constitutes a 750% ROI.
Here was their summary:
Nucleus found that for small to medium businesses, investing in content management returns $8.55 in benefits per dollar spent. The key value drivers for these solutions are increased user productivity and cost savings from redeployed staff or avoided additional hires. As organizational transparency and the value of data continue to grow, companies that fail to fully leverage their own digital content will lag behind more savvy competitors.
An ECM system adds value to almost every department in the organization. The benefits are seen in a variety of ways across divisions and departments, but they all have one thing in common: digital documents improve and facilitate work and reduce costs. In addition, an ECM system can ensure compliance and ensure the security of documents within the business since digital documents are much safer to store than paper. Integration into existing processes within the organization is also easier.
The implications of this new approach for documents are therefore generally similar. Within individual departments, however, there are additional synergies that offer advantages for users, departments and consequently the entire enterprise.
Digital documents are legally compliant
Enterprise content management reduces costs, improves efficiency and simplifies business processes. These advantages cannot be repeated often enough, since their enormous potential for optimization lies dormant in many companies.
Many users of traditional documents and contracts still assume that a document only becomes legally binding if it has been signed by hand. This is no longer true in the digital age. Electronically signed documents are legally valid in many fields and there are numerous opportunities to accelerate and significantly optimize business processes. Contractual partners can find each other faster, business is done faster, time is used in optimal manner and not wasted by sending paper documents.
The trend is increasing toward electronic signatures, if only because of the ever-advancing internationalization and globalization of companies. Information must be accessible and available quickly and everywhere — including on mobile devices, of course.
Improve cash flow and invoice monitoring
In accounting, improved process handling via digital documents is reflected in higher cash flow. This is due to the fact that it still takes 30 days for payment to be remitted onto a bank account for invoices sent by regular mail. With digital invoices, this process can be shortened to days or even hours. In addition, the shipping and receipt of billing documents is easier to follow and made trackable.
Conversely, when invoices are received, digitizing and automating them can achieve discounts and rebates and avoid payment reminders. An ECM system helps with the processing, settlement, storage and archiving of incoming and outgoing invoices. This boosts the reliability of cooperation with suppliers. All processes that occur in the context of payment transactions are much more transparent and can be tracked more effectively.
Improve customer service and customer experience
Brochures, catalogs and other sales documents are often much more suitable in digital form. Besides aspects of environmental considerations, handling electronic documents is significantly simpler since they are accessible everywhere, including in the mobile sector via a smartphone and tablet.
Customers receive the documents they need to order goods faster. Business processes are accelerated, and in most cases are simplified as well. This benefits sales and other departments within the organization since more orders can be processed in less time.
In addition, electronic documents are digitally indexed and fully searchable. This allows customers and employees to find important information quicker without having to laboriously pore over catalogs. Links in electronic documents also help to locate information faster and in more targeted manner.
Finally, relationships between customers and company employees are positively impacted when working with documents through an enterprise content management system. This opens new customer service possibilities. Company employees can help customers faster and, most importantly, more effectively by sending direct links or documents instantly.
Improve information flow between teams
One advantage electronic documents provide is significantly lower costs compared to paper documents. Opportunities to save on costs include expenses for office supplies and the storage space as well as working hours spent dealing with paper documents. Here, printing and copying costs play just as important a role as storage space and transporting documents within the business.
You must quickly locate and use documents at all times. This is where digital documents clearly demonstrate their advantage. This improves both the response time as well as the flow of information within an organization. This in turn results in much higher customer satisfaction.
Engagement with customers is more confident
The sales department often engages in extensive correspondence between the customer and seller. The documents that accrue are typically needed by several employees. If, on top of that, these individuals work in different departments, or phone support needs to provide answers to questions for the sales process, paper documents complicates things.
Approvals are issued faster
Using an enterprise content management system significantly shortens approval processes and, above all, provides process transparency for everyone involved. The ECM system logs who accesses which document and when. This is also helpful for the legal department and all other individuals involved in the process. Of course, changes to documents can also be accurately logged, including the time, location and the changes made.
Recruiting is expedited and enhanced
ECM also helps handle large volumes of job applications. Recruitment processes for new employees are handled more quickly within HR departments since application documents and employment contracts can be digitized. In addition, this also boosts a company's reputation. Applicants see an organization that is adopting modern systems and can thus better position itself against its competitors.